The former Black Cats frontman is currently assistant manager at Derby County
The 42-year old - who scored 113 times in 208 appearances for the club between 1997 and 2003 - has made a great start to his career on the sidelines after taking on the role of striking coach at Leicester City last summer.
Nigel Pearson was the man who brought him in but his successor Claudio Ranieri was a fan too and Phillips stayed on at the King Power Stadium until a chance to step up a level emerged last month.
Derby County boss Paul Clement asked the former Black Cat to be his assistant at the Championship club and an eventual move into the hot-seat now seems inevitable.
“I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I would one day love to manage Sunderland, or be part of a management team at the club,” said Phillips, in quotes published by the Sunderland Echo.
“That would be a dream... and you never know what might happen one day further down the road because so much you don’t expect tends to happen in football.
“But clearly I’m just starting out right now and there’s a long road ahead and I’m just trying to build my experience and develop my coaching skills,” he added.
The fan favourite will undoubtedly be linked again in the future but it’s Sam Allardyce who looks odds on to take up the vacant position at the Stadium of Light now.
Sunderland are thought to want to get a deal finalised early next week to give the former Newcastle and West Ham boss a chance to get a feel for his surroundings before the clash with West Brom on October 17th.